TJR Retro: WWE WrestleMania 27 Review

WWE WrestleMania XXVII
April 3, 2011
Atlanta, Georgia

The 27th WrestleMania saw The Rock return to WrestleMania after being away from the event for seven years. He wasn’t competing at this one, though. He was the host of the event.

I attended this show live in Atlanta. My first WrestleMania in person. I wrote my review a few days after I got home following a re-watch of the event. If you were reading my work from a year ago you probably read this already. I didn’t feel like it needed a re-write although I have edited some things along the way. Let’s get to it.


Before the PPV started, we got a Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus US Title match with other wrestlers surrounding the ring as lumberjacks. It disappointed me to see that as a pre-Mania match because I thought they deserved to be on the main card. They only worked about three minutes until everybody started brawling on the floor. Teddy Long came out to make it a battle royal. That went about 10 minutes with The Great Khali emerging as the winner. The last guy he eliminated was Sheamus. There was nothing special about it, but the crowd was so hot that we actually liked all of this.

Who would figure that a year later the World Title match would be Bryan vs. Sheamus? I’m happy for both of them.

Following the dark match, it was time for WrestleMania to begin. I didn’t take too many pics because I was sitting in section 222 and I didn’t bring an expensive camera. Here’s a pic of the stage from where I was sitting. If you click on the image it will expand.

Keri Hilson sang “America The Beautiful” to start the show. She did very well. I never know what to write for that. They always do very well except when Mean Gene did it.

I’m not sure if it was here or later, but at one point I literally jumped out of my seat due to one of the fireworks displays. Even when you know they are coming they can still shock you. No video of my near heart attack exists. Sorry.

When the show started we were greeted by the The Rock. We loved every second of this. The energy he brought to the building was great and it made for an enjoyable first ten minutes. The part where he told us to say “Dabba” after he said “Yabba” was one of those “am I really doing this?” kind of moments in my life. I can’t believe I chanted “Dabba” with 70,000 people. Scratch that off the bucket list. Haha. His claim that this would be the best WrestleMania ever was a blatant lie, but we didn’t care. We were hot for all of this and it carried over on the PPV broadcast too. The dome was loud.

World Title: Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio
Christian was in Edge’s corner while Brodus Clay was in Del Rio’s corner. I immediately questioned the placement of this. Del Rio won the Rumble, he earned the right to “main event WrestleMania” and he ends up working the opener? I realize that there are two or three matches that we should consider the main event, which is fine, but shouldn’t this be later in the card? The work in the match was good with Del Rio working over the arm, but Edge got the win at 11:12. This didn’t feel like a World Title match at WrestleMania. It felt like a TV match. My personal opinion (and I don’t know this as fact) was that Del Rio was supposed to win here, but Vince changed his mind over the weekend because everybody knew it was happening.
Winner: Edge

Post match, Edge and Christian destroyed Del Rio’s car. Then they apparently had it shipped to Charlotte for Smackdown. It’s like when Edge kidnapped Paul Bearer and brought him to about five different cities including transporting him to Europe. He’s a caring guy like that. Don’t ask me why Alberto would care about one car when he has a different one in every city. Logic need not apply. I assume Del Rio gets the belt at Extreme Rules with Christian “accidentally” costing Edge in the ladder match.

Analysis: ***1/4 Good match. Not great, but it did a nice job of opening the show. I left the write-up as I wrote it last year because I wanted you to know what I was thinking back then. Little did I know that a week later Edge would be forced to retire from wrestling for good. That news really came out of nowhere and shocked everybody. I’m glad I was able to see last televised match, though. Great performer.

Michael Cole was yelling from the Cole Mine. On the broadcast it’s a typical rant. In the arena there’s no sound, so people just booed. I was glad that we couldn’t hear it.

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
This was the first time I’ve been in a crowd during a Mysterio match when the crowd was pretty quiet. Say what you want about him (and I like Rey), but he always managed to get pops. It didn’t happen here. I guess it’s the right time for Sin Cara after all. I was disappointed that there was no video package here because a lot of fans don’t watch Smackdown. It was a good feud. Nobody in the crowd cared too much, though. At one point Rey took Cody’s mask and put it on, which generated a pop, but nothing huge. Cody ended up taking off Rey’s knee brace, which is what started this whole feud, and nailed him in the head with it to get the win at 12:00.
Winner: Cody Rhodes

Analysis: **1/2 I liked the finish a lot. I just don’t think people knew the story enough to care about it. It’s was cool that Cody got a singles win at WrestleMania because he’s a star on the rise.

It was comedy segment time with Snoop Dogg & Teddy Long auditioning WWE talent to join Snoop on his tour. The Great Khali & Beth sang a song from Grease, which was funny. It was nice to hear Zack Ryder get a big pop. I think he’s somebody that can get over huge if the company believes in him. Piper nailing him with a coconut was cool. Masters did a titty dance while Yoshi Tatsu sang “We Will Rock You.” That reminded me of the Chinese restaurant in “A Christmas Story” singing “Deck the Halls.” It ended with Hornswoggle finally talking for the first time as he cut a rap. This was fun for a few laughs until the Hornswoggle part.

Big Show, Kane, Santino & Kofi Kingston d. The Corre (Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater & Ezekiel Jackson)
They didn’t even get two minutes. The entrances got more time. Why do you put over the veteran babyface team when they’re up against a group that holds the IC title and the tag titles? I don’t understand the logic here. They all hit their finishers and Show knocked out Slater to end it at 1:35.
Winners: Big Show, Kane, Santino & Kofi Kingston

Analysis: 1/4* Awful. What was the point? I guess it was done to prove that The Corre was one of the worst stables ever, which they were.

Backstage, The Rock talked to Divas Champion Eve. She’s such a great champion that she doesn’t have the belt with her. At least we know it doesn’t matter. It mattered when Natalya held it. Why did they take it off of her and completely ignore true talents like her as well as Beth Phoenix? Use them! Rock said he’d have a moment with the next person that walked by. I immediately thought it was going to be Mae Young and I was right. She wanted some strudel. Rock said she wanted Moses’ strudel. Then he introduced her to Eve, who she may know from Adam and Eve. Old jokes. Then Eve & Mae left as Steve Austin walked into the screen. Huge pop for that. They shook hands. That was a nice moment and an ode to history. We marked out for that. Of course.

Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
They worked a slow pace, which is Orton’s style, but when the match should have been kicked into a higher gear it never really happened. As a result it was a good match, but it never became great. Orton went for the punt, but he collapsed due to knee pain just like he did on Raw. Then Punk took advantage, went for the GTS, but Orton slithered out (got to use the viper reference) and got the win after an awesome RKO to counter Punk doing a springboard forearm. The finish was really well done. The match went 14:48.
Winner: Randy Orton

Analysis: *** I expected this to be a better match. The pace was too slow for my liking.

There was a backstage segment with The Rock, Mean Gene Okerlund and Pee Wee Herman. Pee Wee was a huge John Cena fan, but by the end he was a Rock fan. This didn’t work very well. Pee Wee annoys the hell out of me. And the fact that he’s in his 60s makes it even creepier to me. Let’s move on.

They introduced the Hall of Fame class of 2011. I covered Saturday’s Hall of Fame ceremony in my Hall of Fame road diary on Sunday morning, which followed my first road diary on Saturday morning. The Hall of Fame class in 2011 was Shawn Michaels, The Road Warriors (Hawk, Animal & Paul Ellering), Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Abdullah The Butcher, Sunny, Bob Armstrong and Drew Carey. Everybody got a nice ovation here with HBK getting that huge moment like he deserved.

The announcers for the next match were Jim Ross and Booker T., who joined Josh Mathews.

Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler
This wasn’t much of a match, obviously. Cole’s promo on the way to the ring was really good. The crowd hated him so much. They got a lot of time, which meant a lot of stalling from Cole. He hid in the Cole Mine, then Swagger attacked Lawler, Cole came out and was in control. Where the match failed was when Cole was given offense. Not only was it too unrealistic, but his offense was poor too. That’s not a surprise. I should also add that Michael Cole’s attire was not flattering in the least. He went to the University of Syracuse, so that’s why he was wearing orange. Eventually Lawler came back and Swagger threw in the towel, which meant that they wanted to end the match. Austin wasn’t having any of it. Swagger was pissed, so he went in the ring and we all knew what was next: Stunner. Big reaction for that. Lawler hit the fist drop and pulled Cole up at two. Then he put Cole in the ankle lock. Cole tapped right away, but Austin waited a bit before ringing the bell. That was great. We were cracking up. Beer bash time. I read later that Lawler didn’t drink alcohol, so he actually poured the beer out. What a waste. I was crying in section 222! Not really. Booker T. came in, did the Spinarooni, joined in on the beer bash and then Austin hit him with the Stunner too! Booker did a great job selling it too because he spit the beer out of his mouth as he was taking the move. We marked out for that! It ran a little long, I thought. In terms of time given it was the second longest segment of the show. I think the booking of it was off because Cole should never have been on offense, but the Austin stuff definitely helped.

At this point I left to get a drink because I thought it was the end of the segment. The GM reversed the decision, saying Cole won the match due to Austin being a biased ref. Lawler was furious, so he threw Josh Mathews into the ring where Stone Cold gave him a Stunner too. This was done to get Ross & Lawler together at the announce table. That’s fine by me.
Winner: Michael Cole

Analysis: -* Awful segment. Sadly the feud didn’t end here either. They did two more PPVs featuring this Cole & Lawler story. Lame.

I need to pass along a live note here. I was sitting in the section above the hard camera in the second level. About five rows above me was the third level, which is the private box level. It was filled with WWE talent. Legends like Dibiase, Funk, Steamboat and other current wrestlers were sitting up there the whole night. People in our section were turning around to snap photos of them. Most of them didn’t even acknowledge us. By the time Triple H & Undertaker started we saw guys like Orton & Punk up there. I guess it’s a better view than looking at a backstage monitor. I found out later, on, that Shawn Michaels was up there too. A lot of people expected him to run out at some point. That didn’t happen obviously.

The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match
Between the entrances, the match time (they got about 30 minutes) and post match they must have been out there for 45-50 minutes. We were hot for this entire thing including the entrances. I had learned about the Triple H entrance earlier because one of the guys holding the shields is an indy worker that I happen to know. I liked so many of the spots. They were very smart about them. Going through the Cole Mine was fun and then HHH taking that backdrop off the table was brutal. He grabbed his wrist immediately. You knew it was bothering him, but you also knew this guy wasn’t going to stop because of a wrist injury. Then Undertaker did his top rope plancha, which resulted in him landing on his head much like he did at WM25. In that instance, Sim Snuka (holding the camera) was supposed to catch him and missed. Hunter didn’t break his fall very well here. Still, it’s amazing that a 46 year old man like Undertaker can still do a spot like that considering all the injuries he’s had. The next spot was Triple H hitting the spinebuster off the steps and putting him through the Spanish announce table. I loved the sequence of moves that followed with each guy countering signature spots with Hunter avoiding the boot to the face with the spinebuster. The crowd was hot for all of it.

The second part of the match occurred when Hunter brought the chair into the match. He came back from the chair to the back to hit the Pedigree for a nearfall. We didn’t think that was it, but it’s not like many people kick out of that move. Then you had Undertaker do his Last Ride powerbomb out of the corner spot. When Undertaker hit the Tombstone we thought that was it, but I also realized there were more big moves they were going to kick out of. The next big spot? Another Triple H Pedigree that Undertaker kicked out of. Watching it on replay shows that Undertaker didn’t take that very well. He was grabbing his neck and trying to get feeling in his fingers. Then Triple H hit his third Pedigree, which Undertaker kicked out of. This one looked like it was more protected. A lot of people thought that was it even though we all knew Undertaker was winning. Hunter used the chair next, which included several shots to the back and also a chairshot to the head. Apparently they got fined for that since chairshots are banned in WWE now, which is a good thing. How much did they get fined? Nobody really knows. I doubt they really got fined anyway. Not important, really. “Stay down,” Triple H told Undertaker. “Stay down! What’s wrong with you?” That added to the drama. Then Hunter hit the Tombstone. Look at how everybody stood up. That was the biggest reaction of the night. It was like: “Oh no you didn’t!” Oh yes he did. Then he folded the arms, covered him and Undertaker kicked out. Then THAT became the biggest reaction of the night. That was a legit markout moment. Great spot. And Hunter, to his credit, sold it perfectly. Hunter got the sledgehammer. Undertaker grabbed him before he could attack, putting him in the Hell’s Gate submission hold. Hunter dropped the hammer, then he tried to grab it and couldn’t. Then he tried to power out. He couldn’t. Then when he finally got the hammer he was too weak. He tapped out. I loved it as a finish. Perfect way to end it because if Undertaker beat him with a power move it would have diminished what Hunter did to him physically. Taker had trouble getting back to his feet, so instead he won with a finishing move on his back. It makes sense. The total match time was 29:26. The Undertaker is 19-0 at WrestleMania.
Winner: The Undertaker

Analysis: ****1/2 What can you say? Amazing match. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Triple H and Undertaker. They worked their asses off to put on a great match here. The spots were timed well, they were done in the perfect sequence and the chemistry they had was really good considering they haven’t worked a singles match together in a few years. I think Taker/Michaels at WM25 and WM26 are both five star matches. This was just barely below that. My reasoning is that this was more of a brawl with well placed spots while the other two were more like traditional wrestling matches. I don’t want to nitpick. It’s a personal preference thing. Ultimately, though, we’re talking about three amazing matches. Rank them how you want. You won’t get too much of an argument from me. I’m glad Jim Ross was able to call this match too. It was better for having him there. Nobody can touch him in terms of calling the big matches.

I’ll say this about Undertaker too. He sold that beating really well. A lot of us thought he was legitimately hurt. Did it happen when he crashed headfirst on the floor? We had no idea. How many times have you seen him get taken out by a stretcher before? I guess that’s the WWE way of saying he has a level of vulnerability now. I’d like to personally give a standing ovation for Undertaker, Triple H and ref Scott Armstrong (who did his job by checking on them when needed) for putting on an unforgettable performance that was the best match I’ve ever seen live. This was the highlight of WrestleMania 27. No question about that.

After the match, we all let out a breath because they took us on this emotional journey and they told the story so well. It was the best match I’d ever seen live in 25+ WWE shows. I’m glad I was able to be there for it. They deserved the standing ovation they got. It wasn’t just the fans that were giving them the ovation. The WWE people sitting 20 feet away from me were giving them that ovation too.

If that match ended the show it would have been fine. However, The Rock was the biggest draw on the show. He should have gone on last. I’m not going to question the decision.

They announced WrestleMania 28 would be in Miami on April 1, 2012.

John Morrison, Snooki & Trish Stratus vs. Dolph Ziggler, Michelle McCool & Layla
They had some decent spots with McCool and Trish, who was making her WrestleMania return after five years without a lot of attention being given to it. Then Morrison took out Ziggler with a Starship Pain on the floor (awesome looking spot) and the Snooki Monster got the hot tag. She did her cartwheel into the butt splash onto McCool in the corner because I guess she’s got a gymnastics background. Then she pinned McCool in a match that that ended at 4:00.
Winners: Morrison, Snooki & Stratus

Analysis: 1/2* The news coming out of this was that John Morrison wanted his girlfriend Melina in the match, not Trish. That doesn’t make sense since Melina was a heel. After the match Trish went to hug him and he snubbed her. Then Trish spoke about it in a radio show later in the week saying that she didn’t understand why he would like that. A year later no Melina or Morrison in WWE. She got fired. He let his contract run out.

That video package featuring The Miz’ growth as a TV performer from the Real World to WWE Champion was terrific. When “Miz girl” was shown she got a huge pop too. It’s a shame that the masked Calgary Kid did not make an appearance, though. Then Miz came out through some ballooned letters of the word “Awesome.” I guess they cut back on production costs, huh? Also, why does Alex Riley come out in his wrestling gear if he’s not in the match? And why the briefcase? Those are rhetorical questions.

The Cena entrance wasn’t as good as The Miz’ video. They sang “your time is up, my time is now” and we booed them for it. They did a good job. It’s the association with Cena that got booed, though. I feel bad for booing a church choir. I recognized the words of the poem from a DMX CD over a decade ago.

WWE Title: The Miz vs. John Cena
They worked hard for the 15 minutes they were given. The match didn’t have much of a flow to it, though. I’m not sure if that’s their fault or we were still coming down from the Undertaker-Triple H match. I wasn’t a fan of the ref bump, but I understand why it was done because they had to have a way for The Rock to come out there. I thought Cena was going to win the belt after he hit the Attitude Adjustment. Miz kicked out of it, which was a shock to a lot of people. Then they did the spot on the floor where Cena clotheslined him. Then Cena tackled him on the floor, which led to Miz smacking his head on the cement. That led The Miz suffering a legit concussion. We did not like the ruling of a draw. Live in the arena we could see a camera guy running up the ramp. We all knew that meant The Rock was coming out. Rock restarted it saying no DQ, no countout. They went back in the ring, Rock got in the ring, hit the Rock Bottom on Cena and Miz covered for the win at 16:10.
Winner: The Miz

Analysis: *1/2 Disappointing. It felt like more of an angle than a match. One of the worst WrestleMania main events ever. I think the better thing to do was have Rock be the guest ref. I know they already had Stone Cold as guest ref, but at least if you did that you could book the match in a better way than what we got.

After it was over, Rock went back in the ring and attacked The Miz. He gave him a spinebuster and People’s Elbow. That was a good way to end the show on a happier note. The show ended with The Rock celebrating.


– When I wrote this last year I gave the show a rating of 6.5 out of 10. It wasn’t that good. I’ll give it a 5 out of 10 this time. The matches were well done for the most part and the atmosphere in the building helped out some of the slow spots. We had the one match of the year contending match in Undertaker-HHH and then a bunch of matches in the three star range. That means they’re solid although they’re not attention getting either. It was an average WrestleMania. It was also the worst WrestleMania of the 11 events that took place after WM17, which when the event really became a great show nearly every year. Average isn’t good enough for WrestleMania. We expect greatness.

– If we knew Edge was wrestling in his last televised match I think the building would have been a lot louder for his match. I wrote in my recap last year that he looked healthy, which was great to see. Little did we know how much pain he was in during the match. What a great performer.

– The Rock’s attack on Cena made sense considering what they are building to as it relates to WrestleMania 28. I still think it was a poorly constructed match between Cena and Miz. Of course Cena ended up winning the WWE Title at the next PPV in a match that was even worse than this one. That Cena/Miz feud was pretty bad.

– Do you think John Morrison regrets his behavior? I do. I also don’t think it’s a big deal really, but it obviously played a part in Melina getting fired while also leading Morrison to lose a lot of matches after this.

– A big shoutout to my buddy Justin W. for The John Report sign he had at ringside. Here are a few pics with the sign featured. I met Justin on Saturday at Axxess. He’s a great guy that served two tours of duty in Iraq and treated himself to an awesome WrestleMania weekend. Congrats buddy. You deserve it. And thank you for the sign.

Best Match: Undertaker vs. Triple H – Nothing was really close to it.

Worst Match: Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler – Awful.

Most Memorable Moment: Rock hits Cena with the Rock Bottom – Set the stage for what was to come the next year.

Five Stars:
1. Triple H – He was phenomenal. He did a great job of being the aggressor in the match, of selling how tough it was to put Undertaker away and telling the story with his face as much as he did with his body.
2. Undertaker – I think his injuries have definitely slowed him down, but he showed up big again. The last five WrestleManias have all seen Undertaker have matches that were four stars or better. All of them happened while he’s been in his 40s too. He’s an amazing talent.
3. Edge – Had his working boots on. A very good performance in his final WrestleMania match.
4. The Rock – His energy helped the show. I enjoyed the introductory promo as a great way to get the crowd into the action right away. That staredown with Austin was awesome.
5. Steve Austin – I mark out for the Stunners. I don’t know who else to put here.

Show rating (out of 10): 5

Previous recaps listed in order with main event and ranking out of 10:

WrestleMania 17 – Steve Austin vs. The Rock (10/10)

WrestleMania 19 – Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (9.5/10)

WrestleMania 21 – Batista vs. Triple H (8.5/10)

WrestleMania 20 – Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels (8/10)

WrestleMania 10 – Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (7.5/10)

WrestleMania 23 – John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (7.5/10)

WrestleMania 24 – The Undertaker vs. Edge (7.5/10)

WrestleMania 26 – The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (7.5/10)

WrestleMania 22 – John Cena vs. Triple H (7/10)

WrestleMania 8 – Hulk Hogan vs. Sid & Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair (7/10)

WrestleMania 25 – Triple H vs. Randy Orton (7/10)

WrestleMania 3 – Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (7/10)

WrestleMania 14 – Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels (7/10)

WrestleMania 18 – Triple H v. Chris Jericho (6.5/10)

WrestleMania 7 – Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter (6.5)

WrestleMania 6 – Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan (6/10)

WrestleMania 16 – Triple H vs. The Rock vs. Mick Foley vs. Big Show (5.5/10)

WrestleMania 12 – Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (5.5/10)

WrestleMania 15 – Steve Austin vs. The Rock (5/10)

WrestleMania 11 – Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (5/10)

WrestleMania 27 – The Miz vs. John Cena (5/10)

WrestleMania 1 – Hogan/Mr T vs. Piper/Orndorff (4.5/10)

WrestleMania 4 – Randy Savage vs. Ted Dibiase (4.5/10)

WrestleMania 13 – The Undertaker vs. Sycho Sid (4/10)

WrestleMania 5 – Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage (4/10)

WrestleMania 2 – Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy (4/10)

WrestleMania 9 – Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna (2/10)

The matches that have received ratings of ****+ on the five star scale:
1. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels @ WM25: *****
2. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin @ WM13: *****
3. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels @ WM21: *****
4. Steve Austin vs. The Rock @ WM17: *****
5. Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz @ WM17: *****
6. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels @ WM26: *****
7. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels @ WM10: *****
8. Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart @ WM10: *****
9. Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage @ WM3: *****
10. Chris Benoit vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels @ WM20: ****3/4
11. Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle @ WM19: ****3/4
12. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart @ WM12: ****1/2
13. The Undertaker vs. Triple H @ WM27: ****1/2
14. Money in the Bank won by Edge @ WM21: ****1/2
15. Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage @ WM7: ****1/2
16. Undertaker vs. Edge @ WM24: ****1/2
17. Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho @ WM19: ****1/2
18. Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair @ WM8: ****1/2
19. Edge vs. Mick Foley @ WM22: ****1/4
20. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels @ WM23: ****1/4
21. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit @WM17: ****1/4
22. Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle @ WM20: ****1/4
23. Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz @ WM16: ****1/4
24. Undertaker vs. Batista @ WM23: ****
25. John Cena vs. Triple H @ WM22: ****
26. The Rock vs. Steve Austin @ WM19: ****
27. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair @ WM24: ****
28. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan @ WM18: ****
29. Money in the Bank won by Ken Kennedy @WM23: ****
30. Chris Jericho vs. Edge @ WM26: ****
31. Randy Orton, Batista & Ric Flair vs. The Rock & Mick Foley @WM20: ****
32. Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper @ WM8: ****

You can check out all of my WrestleMania Reviews here.

John Canton

Twitter @johnreport